DC - San Francisco - Taipei, Taiwan

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Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 2:26pm PST 
We (auntie and uncle) are taking both Gio and Toki back to their parents in Taiwan in late June. We will also be attending their wedding, so this is basically our wedding gifts to them. Their Ma&Pa had to leave their babies behind because Taiwan animal import law adapted new quarantine rules (similar to UK) in 2006 and when we found out about the new law it was way too late for us to start the import permit process (6 mos. prior to departure).

Currently we have a flight from DC to San Francisco (United), stay in San Francisco overnight, then off to Taiwan from there the next day (United, Boeing 777). We did call and make pet reservations for both of them, got our import permit, just waiting for the BIG day.

Dogster has been our biggest help so far -- we are still nervous, because this is our first flight together, but we've learned so much!

We don't worry much about Gio -- maybe it's the age, but he is a seasoned traveller (at least in cars.) and checks out his Sherpa bag once in a while for a nap. We are EXTREMELY worried about Toki, though.

I just measured her, and she's about 16 inches long (from top of her head to tailbone) and 14 inches tall when she stands up (not including her head) -- this might be an inch or two off because she's keep running away from me every time I hold out the measuring tape.

United's bag size restriction is: 17x10x8inch. No weight restrictions, though.

No, she definitely is not comfortable in a small size Sherpa bag. Do you think she can travel in cabin with us in a medium bag? When worst comes to worst, I guess we will have to send her cargo/checked baggage, but we would really like to take her on board with her brother. (I'd rather travel in cargo and have her sit on my seat instead)

I've read posts here that the pups sometimes behave on board like the way they are in a car. The thing is, Toki refuses to sit still in a car trip! Toki always wants to sit on the "driver's lap" and would not stay still for a long time.

We still have some time before we leave, so if you have any suggestions to better Toki's travel experience, we would really appreciate it.

Oh, and the last thing, this is our first trip to San Francisco and we are SO excited! We hardly can wait! snoopyWhat places would you recommend us to visit with the pups for our last day together? Is there a dog-friendly travel guidebook you use? They will go straight to the quarantine as soon as we land in Taiwan and we will not be able to see them before we leave frown

We appreciate all your comments in advance. Thank you so much for reading such a long post! Have a great Sunday! (arf! arf!)

Edited by author Sun Feb 18, '07 2:29pm PST


I'm the- Prince of- Fluffyness!
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 11:52pm PST 
Hey guys,

From my experience, United is VERY obliging regarding these kinds of things and I think you'll be fine with a medium sized bag, especially since it will be soft-sided and you can "squeeze" it a little if necessary. We actually use the Sherpa Deluxe Large bag and never ever had a problem with that (despite mom not having very much foot space - BOL). Just make sure to call the airline one or two days before your flight and let them confirm that you are going to be flying in the cabin as you don't want any bad surprises at the airport. smile

In order to get Toki used to the bag, you might want to try and use it in the car from now on. It might be a little struggle at first (BOL) but I'm sure she'll get the hang of it quickly. smile I had never really travelled in a bag before mom took me to the US but I was a really good boy during the flight and mom was totally surprised, to be honest.

As for San Francisco: Mom took me there three years ago and I LOVED it. way to go We went to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 and went on a little bay cruise (dogs are allowed on the Blue and Gold Fleet boats except on those going to Alcatraz and Treasure Island). The cruise especially was so much fun because we went underneath the Golden Gate Bridge!! snoopy Also, mom took me to Golden Gate Park which was nice but I heard from some of my SF pals that Fort Funston is much better. As for travelguides, you could check out the Dogster travel pages or www.dogfriendly.com. We actually bought the "Dog Lover's Guide to California" book which was a great help also but that might be a little too much if you're just staying for one day.

Edited by author Sun Feb 18, '07 11:53pm PST


Dapper Dan
Barked: Mon Feb 19, '07 6:19am PST 
Good luck on your flight! way to go I would get in touch with the airline as soon as possible because most limit the number of animals in the cabin on any one flight.

Check out www.parks.ca.gov/pages/523/files/wherecanitakemydog.pdf
for places to go while you're in San Francisco.

Sorry you have to go in quarantine when you arrive in Taiwan.frown


Ruff eedy ruff- ruuff
Barked: Mon Feb 19, '07 7:12am PST 
OH wow You lucky duckies!!!!
Travelling and all!
Anyways I live in San francisco so i know some places ..I havent been everywhere b/c Pepperoni has kennel cough I really dont want another dog to get it from her , but I did get this little thing Called "Todo" In the taxis and this month is pets pets pets! so your in luck!

So I would take your babies to golden gate park . Be sure yyou have a map!!!

There are some cafes where you can take them along too , now my hands are a bit tired.. So if you tell me in which area of San Francisco You'll be in I'll tell yousome placessmile

I hoped I helped ! And for any more info please ask!smile

Barked: Mon Feb 19, '07 1:51pm PST 
Thank you so much for your responses!

(and so many of them, so quickly! dogster really rocks)

Chester -- Wow. Large bag! I wonder if they would mind if we show up with a large size. She would certainly be much happier camper.

It sounds like Chester has been traveling with you a lot before on Unitedsmile We just read about "Economy Plus" service and was wondering if you (or anyone else in this forum) have had any experience with it. Would $299 extra $$ really get us more comfortable seats? Just wondering how much of this "5" inch make a difference for us.

When we requested the seats on United.com, we didn't have a whole lot of choices (summer is the time when Asian students go home to visit their families -- we bought our tickets 4 months in advance & still slim pickings there), so we picked whichever seats that was available. Airline did say if we check-in early (or sign up for this "economy plus"), we probably can change our seats.

Do airlines normally have specific seats for people traveling with dogs? If not, which seats should I request? Front? Back near bathroom? Right in the middle with everyone else? We are on Boeing 777.

http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/United_Airlines/United_Airl ines_Boeing_767-300_I.php

-- Golden Gate Bridge is definitely on the very top of our list. We really haven't had any chance to think about what area we'd like to visit, because we are currently looking for the most paw-friendly hotel that wouldn't break our bank (which have had quite a bit of dent after buying tickets). We were hoping for a hotel that wouldn't cost more than $250/night. Recommendations would be appreciatedsmile

Thank you so much for all your help!!snoopy
Otto - Registered- Service Dog

ADI cert. - the only one- that matters!
Barked: Mon Feb 19, '07 3:26pm PST 
Mom and I are going to England for the summer. We're flying on British Airways. They give you an extra 7 inches in economy +. You might not need it from the East Coast to San Francisco, but it would probably be nice for the longer flight.

Your carriers will have to go under the seat in front of you, so I don't think you will get a bulkhead seat. You might get upgraded when you check in... but then you might not.

Have a safe journey!hug

ETA: Isn't the quarantine thing a pain? Mom started my paperwork in plenty of time but the vet transposed two of the numbers of my microchip! It took a mess of phone calls and three to Heathrow, London, but it looks like I'm good to go - we hope!

Edited by author Mon Feb 19, '07 3:38pm PST


Barked: Mon Feb 19, '07 9:08pm PST 
Otto -- Yes! The whole paperwork has been pretty long process but it does not compare the difficulties we went through to reserve a seat for both dogs.

In case if any other pups trying to get to Taiwan searches this site, go here to get Taiwanese government regulations on animal import and export laws.
And if your airline says what United had said to me before, do tell them CKS airport = Chang Kai Shek Airport = TPE = Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (www.CKSairport.gov.tw/CKSeng).
It's not Carajas airport in Brazil that the Taiwan government is talking about... they chaged the airport's name in '06.
This one simple word took us 12 hours to get it cleared up with United.

I hope we do not have a whole lot of problem after we arrive. How can we tell whether the vet had this "transposition error"?

(still shuffling all our papers)

Thank you!

I'm the- Prince of- Fluffyness!
Barked: Tue Feb 20, '07 12:09am PST 
Yep, we did fly Economy Plus before and you really do have more space there. You might want to think about it for the long flight to Taiwan but I wouldn't spend the extra money for the shorter flight to SF (just my 2 cents though). smile
On one flight we actually got seats in the front row which was nice cause we had a lot more room. I thought that this would be a problem at first because there was no seat in front of us under which we could have put Chester's bag but somehow everyone was fine with it. BOL. You could definitely try and ask the airlines.
On our flight back home from Canada we were particularly lucky: Too many passengers had tickets for that flight so when the lady at check-in heard that we'd have a seat with almost no space (she was a true animal lover), she gave mom and me and upgrade for only 250 US dollars which means that we flew Business for the equivalent of only 650 dollars one way which is quite cheap for an intercontinental flight.
But as somepup already said: It can't hurt to get to the airport early and check what possibilities there are. Good luck!
Otto - Registered- Service Dog

ADI cert. - the only one- that matters!
Barked: Tue Feb 20, '07 3:52am PST 
Toki, After I picked up the certified rabies titer level certificate, I compared the certificate chip number with Otto's chip paperwork. Imagine my horror when the numbers didn't match!confused

It took seven weeks to get that certificate, since we had it done Dec. 2 and everyone who needed it for the summer was doing the same thing. We got a phone call after about five weeks from our vet saying the levels were great, not to worry, but it would be a couple more weeks to get the certificate. We got the call that the certified certificate had come in, so I made our reservations the same day. I picked up the certificate the next day.

There I was, reservations made, and my service dog wasn't legal for entry into the UK and no time to retest! I pretty much lost it.frown It was the vet who transposed the numbers on the form for the test request. The vet did run another test right away, knowing we would need those results in addition to the certificate with the mistake. We are still waiting for those results, but know there won't be a problem with the levels - and hope the chip number is right this time! We were lucky to find a woman from DEFRA (the government agency who takes care of animal import in the UK) who has lead us through the whole procedure of documenting this disaster so Otto will be allowed into the country.applause

I hate to think what would have happened if I hadn't thought to check the chip number...

We are trying to upgrade from economy + to business on the outbound flight. We've already done so on the return. BA only allows service dogs (and restricts them to SDs trained by certain schools) to fly in the cabin. Luckily, Otto was trained at one of these schools, so he will fly with me. BA does require he have his own seatbelt! He's huge, so if we are in economy + we will get a bulkhead seat. If you are regular economy, you might not want the bulkhead seat, since your extra legroom will be taken up by the carrier and you won't have anywhere to put your feet! (I'm worried about my 'neighbor' which is why I'm trying to upgrade with points!) In addition, your seat will be narrower because your tray table is in the arm and you might have a little TV that swings up from under your seat, which the carrier will make difficult.

We''ll keep our paws crossed that you get upgraded no matter what class you fly. I'm frequently upgraded due to my disability, but don't want to risk it on a long flight with Otto.

Good luck!dog

Please vote for- me!
Barked: Sat Feb 24, '07 11:44am PST 
hi Otto, wowzers that's good to know re. the school requirement! my mom is wondering if she should take me to Europe w/ her or not and I guess this is a major concern
hi Toki, re. you refusing to sit still on a car trip. whew, that could spell trouble! a plane ride SFO-Philippines is something like 16 hours non-stop. i imagine it's about the same for Taiwan. a dog bouncing-around the cabin for 16 hours? i'm worried for ya, buddy. i mean my mom wouldn't mind 'coz she loves dogs, but other passengers may get pretty touchy, ya know?

maybe it's is a good idea to start getting some training re. this issue. before it's too late that is. maybe have a trainer go to your home and work on this specifically?

anyway, re. the extra leg room, if it's in the budget, then it's definitely worth it.

re. San Francisco things to do, what are your parent's likes/style? without knowing specifically, here are some things that may be unique to San Francisco:

-Sony Metreon
-Electric Cars - especially cool for touring a lot of sites in a short time. I especially like the golf cart style cars. the other alternative is to rent 2 cars in the race car style, with each of your parents carrying a dog per car. then you can race, hee hee smile
-Hotel Triton - once again, we don't know your parent's preference. would y'all prefer to stay at a victorian mansion instead? do u care about architecture? what do u like?

we live in San Francisco so we may have ideas for you way to go
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